MURRAY — Steve Peterson is an avid Lego Stars Wars collector, but his collection has always been missing the grand daddy of them all, the 5,000-plus piece Millennium Falcon. Peterson missed out on purchasing it for $500 when it was released in 2007 — and in the decade since he could never justify buying the retired set on the reseller market as it swelled to upwards of $4,000.
So when Lego announced earlier this month it was releasing a remake of its most sought-after set — a set it promoted as the largest in Lego history with 7,541 pieces — Peterson wasn’t about to miss out this time.
With the Millennium Falcon officially going on sale to VIP members on Thursday at 10 a.m., Peterson figured he’d need to sleep in line outside Fashion Place Mall Wednesday night to guarantee he’d be one of the first in Utah to buy the set.
He wasn’t the only one with that same idea. When he arrived at the designated waiting area outside Fashion Place Mall at 8:45 p.m., three other Lego fans were already queued up to spend $799 on the dream set.
Fortunately for Peterson the Lego Store had a sign posted outside that said it had four sets to sell on Thursday morning. He’d just made it.
“I’ve never waited in line for a Lego set before, and I thought why not do it for this one,” said Peterson, who’s Lego collection is exclusively Star Wars Legos.
Nihal Singh was the first person in line about 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, followed by Dustin Randall and about an hour later Singh’s co-worked Josh Tracey joined the line.
Over the next 12 hours a couple dozen more Lego fans ventured to the Fashion Place Mall only to quickly learn they hadn’t arrived early enough to be part of the “Falcon Four” as one Lego Store employee dubbed them.
“That experience of waiting in line with strangers. I wanted that. I miss that. When you go to movies anymore you don’t have to wait over night to see that new Star Wars movie, you bought your tickets 3 months ago,” said Tracey.
The Millennium Falcon release to VIP members bogged down Lego’s website for two hours on Wednesday morning before it officially sold out by about 8 a.m.
The set will go on sale to the general public on Oct. 1, and judging by Thursday’s release you’ll need to grab a chair and a blanket and be prepared to sleep outside the mall if you want to snag one.
That’s not something the Falcon Four have to worry about. They just have to worry about where to display a set that measures 33 inches long, 22 inches wide and 8 inches tall and weighs nearly 25 pounds.
“Who needs a Christmas tree this year. Let’s all gather around the Falcon,” joked Tracey.
Randall’s brother was always the bigger Lego collector growing up, but it’s a passion he’s discovered in his adult life. His crown jewel is a custom built four-foot long Titanic replica he built over a span of 10 to 15 years.
“I love the history of the Titanic, learning about the people that were involved in the making, and the people who passed away. I’m just really interested in the history of it,” said Randall, who loves to re-create famous buildings and movie landmarks with Lego.
The Millennium Falcon will rank right up there with his favorite sets once he starts building it this weekend. A Lego fan who received an advance set to build and review a week ago posted a time-lapse video to YouTube said it took him 34 hours to build.
“I thought it would take me less time than that,” said Randall.
Of the four who camped out, and the dozen or so that followed them, Singh was the least likely to purchase the Millennium Falcon on its release day. After all, he’s never purchased a big Lego set in his life.
He attributes his new passion to watching Tracey’s excitement in Legos the past year.
“After sitting in a pod with (Tracey) for a year you just learn about it and then you get nostalgic about it, even though you’ve never done it. And I just wanted a Falcon,” said Singh.
Both Singh and Tracey were supposed to work a graveyard shift Wednesday night, and they’d planned to head straight to the mall after getting off work at 4 a.m. When they learned Utah’s only Lego Store would have just four sets to sell, they quickly conjured up Plan B.
As for where Singh is going to display the set once he builds it, first he’s got to save up his money to buy a glass display coffee table.
Tracey plans on slowly building his set over the next month, perhaps building one of the four boxes that’s enclosed in the 25-pound primary box every week.
“For a lot of people who missed out on the first Millennium Falcon, maybe they didn’t have the money 10 years ago or they hadn’t come out of what Lego fans call the dark ages, they feel a sense of nostalgia, ‘oh my gosh, I can finally had a UCS Falcon, I can have this giant thing I’ve only ever seen in pictures,’” said Tracey.
For now it’s still just a picture. But it’s a picture on a box in their possession that they spent an uncomfortable night at the mall to acquire. And none of them regretted it one bit after they rolled the 25-pound box to their car a little after 10 a.m.
Now they just need to get some sleep before they can start the long build.